Music can be much more than a few notes that sound pleasant to the ear. For a lucky few, it can be a means of accessing a certain part of your psyche and channeling the creativity and energy of higher beings. One such lucky musician is the California producer Ras G. The Brainfeeder, Stones Throw, and Low End Theory artist is set to release Down to Earth Vol. 2 (The Standard Boom Bap Edition) on the 9th via Leaving Records. The album is a tribute to boom bap Hip-Hop production, something Ras G grew up on, but with strong overtones of a deeper cultural background. As is the case with his previous projects, Down to Earth Vol. 2 is a sonic epic that, for the most part, needs no words for direction.
Before we continue, let it be known that this project “is dedicated to those all over the planet who recognize and respect the sound.” You can hear snippets of each track HERE and read our interview with the man himself, below.
On “Imamu’s Time…” it starts with a man saying that he is a vessel for God. Did you feel that way in creating this album? What was speaking through you on previous projects?
Yes that’s Baba Imamu Amiri Baraka on the vocals… Yes I do feel all the ancestors or energies of the past and present come together on all my projects particularly my younger self spoke to me more on this project Down 2 Earth Vol. 2.
I definitely hear influences like the snow bells on “Polo Jacket & Dashiki” that Pete Rock used a lot. Why the “return to the boom bap style of hip hop” now?
Haha snow bells… I actually didn’t think about Baba Pete’s use of the bells… I listen to a lot of spiritual and out jazz which has lots of bells, shakers and so forth so that’s how it made the track. And I just wanted to do a bap record kinda like how a jazz cat would do an album of blues or jazz standard. I wanted to do that but on a hip hop level…not to out like my other stuff…which I love and continue to do as well.
How is this your most down to earth project?
I think it’s more accessible to people’s ears. It’s like comfort food… All my other projects are straight Ethiopian food which is my favorite food…but this record is a veggie burger with sweet potato fries which is cool for Ras_G and way more possibly appealing to the regular turkey/beef burger eater….feel me? If anything I can ask for with this record is to make those people say, “Damn that was a good veggie burger.”
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Explain your SpaceBase mentality that you enter when you work.
SpaceBase is my mentality being in my SpaceBase is being in my brain…I channel feeling and thoughts through a musical form of transcendental meditation.
While some tracks feel very of the earth, others like “Nah Test” sound like a voyage into space. Is this all part of a journey?
Yeah that track reminded me of the in between feeling when your done astral traveling you know that part when your body wakes up before your soul touches the body and you can’t really feel your body or cant breathe but you feel it all coming back once your spirit touches the flesh. It is the feeling of coming Down 2 Earth or being Back On The Planet as I always say.
What is the significance of having an emcee rap over certain beats?
It is significant for Ras_G if the emcee recognizes there a vocal instrument that fits in the track. Emcees I do work with have discipline and free form precision in that field so there’s that special magic created when recording at SpaceBase. What makes it most significant is that I never thought I would work with emcees…because I was all about the beat.
“Love and Peace” is a bit more unstructured from the others. Was this your mini Jazz period in the creative process of this album?
Not at all just the natural free feeling vibe that comes from SpaceBase translated into that track I can hear it…sounds and feels like Leimert Park on Sundays.
I feel like if you left this project in a time capsule and buried it back in the 90’s, unearthed it in 2050, it would still sound like it arrived just on time. Was this unique blend of old and new a goal of yours?
I would have to say yes. It encompasses a lot of elements that got me into beats before I was making beats but still embraces that electronic Afrikan spiritual thing those Sun Ra records did to my head at the same time in my older years it’s a fine balance of myself our how I see myself.
What answers about music or life or anything else have revealed themselves to you after or while creating this project?
Hard to convey at this point. I know when I was 9 meditating on life I seen myself as I am now doing what I am doing now…so if anything I learned to nurture and preserve that insight and feeling that got Ras_G where he is today. So if anything this record (Down 2 Earth Vol. 2) is made for the teenage Ras_G who wanted to make dope beats because he knew what a dope beats was and would go to people’s studios to learn how to make beats and they would make whack beats… and I would hate it haha… like damn you gotta a MPC, SP1200, ASR 10 and you making sh*tty beats!?!? How is that? Haha my heroes make these machines speak! So yeah D2E is invoked by the spirit of teenage Ras_G which is a reflection of that time and feeling…which I never gave up. I progressed with it.
What future plans do you have for new music?
Well I have 4 Afrikan Space Program albums done so far with guest that range from MndDsgn, Jeremiah Jae, Zeroh, Shafiq Husayn, John Robinson, Rogue Venom, my ASP family Eagle Nebula, Ras Terms, and Kahil Sadiq’s LP, which is the first album I ever fully produced with an emcee.
Just turned in 5 Chuckles which is a collaboration with my cousin KoreaTownOddity. Raw Fruit 4 is ready to go, working on the follow up to Seat Of The Soul and Down 2 Earth Vol.3 I’m ready for 2015 going into 2016 endless and timeless music coming out of SpaceBase. We going everywhere with this music.
Bryan Hahn now wants to simultaneously go to space and stay on earth. He’s on Twitter (@notupstate).
Photo Credit: Rogue Venom